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18 August 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tiers

And, to be honest, there were some "tears" in there as well.  In fact, I imagine I made K feel pretty helpless when I started to cry on him sometime around night #5 of little to no sleep.  But, sometimes shedding a few tears makes everything better - it helped release some of the tension I had been carrying around and allowed me to "be calm and bake on."

So what exactly, cost me all this sleep and tears?  Well, I designed the largest wedding cake I've done to date last week, along with making entries for the local fair's cake contest and creating two birthday cakes.  Everything turned out well, despite all the other issues that seemed to crop up - the fair, broken cake layers, a cut finger, the list goes on...

But before we continue on, please Pardon the Interruption:  

I know you're waiting for pictures of all my creations, but before I share, I've got give out my thanks and appreciation to my supporters and help system from this week - K,  Hunny's, and, for the first time, my madre!  (I'm not sure what she thought of the whole process (she helped me deliver & set-up the wedding cake), but she seemed to enjoy it and even said it was "fun," so that must be a good sign!)  Thanks, as always, for everything.  My cake hobby has become less of a one woman show and more of a team effort these days, and I appreciate those of you who have been there for me!

Okay, I'm ready now.  Are you?  Then here we go!

Here's my entries for the local fair.  I had planned an additional show cake, but the design didn't work out to my expectations, so it didn't make an appearance.  I am happy to say that I won first place with the cupcake bouquet and grand champion with the cake, both in the professional division!

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Who wouldn't love an edible bouquet of cupcake flowers?  They look pretty and you don't have to worry about the blooms fading...though they may not last as long as a traditional arrangement.  After all, wouldn't want to let delicious cupcakes go to waste! (The picture quality here is awful...it was quite late, so I had no natural light to work with!)

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This cake is a true show cake...not only did it win grand champion at this year's fair, it won a 2nd place ribbon at the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show last October.  I've kept it well sealed and protected until about a week ago (don't worry - the cake forms are Styrofoam), when I unwrapped it for entry in the fair.  It still qualified for entry since it was made after last year's fair, but prior to this year's.  I had been contemplating dis-assembling this cake and re-using the forms for another show piece, but since it has been so good to me and is my very first show cake, I've decided to keep it intact.  The only problem now is where to store or display it...

The birthday cakes are up next - both of these were fun to make.  I got to splatter "paint" one of them, and utilize my Silhouette cutter on the other.  Good times!

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I used airbrush sheen to splatter this cake.  It made a mess, but the effect was well worth it!  The monogram is made from fondant and the cake is iced in cream cheese icing.  It served as a perfect reminder for why I don't offer cream cheese icing as a finishing option for most of my cakes - it gets too soft and doesn't hold well!

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I hand cut the topper and the landmarks for this cake; the Silhouette got the job of cutting out the city names! I opted to use a different font for each city - the electronic cutter made quick work of the project, much quicker than I could have.  The designs continue around the cake and include, other than the ones visible in the photo, the Pyramids of Giza, Big Ben, and the Roman Colosseum, as well as the cities of London, Cairo, and Beijing.  Here's a closer look at the cuts made by the Silhouette:

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I think I've improved since last time! Hehe!

And, here's the groom's cake for the wedding:

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I used the Silhouette on this one, too.  Though just on the phrase, not on the rack and skull.  (Optical Illusion Bonus:  Do you see the skull as well as the deer?)  It was fun to see a little humor injected into the wedding celebration...and I got to try out my camouflage fondant technique!

Finally - here it is!  Six tiers of butter creamed, hand piped, fondant be-ribboned wedding cake!

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To say I breathed a sigh of relief once this cake was constructed would be an understatement.  I fretted over this cake for weeks!  And it didn't help that I had to re-bake both the bottom tier and the 3rd tier because the original ones cracked and would have been structurally unstable.  It also didn't help that I cut my finger while leveling the cakes and was working with a bandaged hand while trying to hand pipe beautiful buttercream designs on each tier.  Or how about the fact that we had to search for a table sturdy enough to hold the weight of the cake once we arrived at the venue?  It was a bumpy road, but the cake was gorgeous when all was said and done.

The topper was made from artificial flowers and a crystal Monogram letter.  I, obviously, didn't make the flowers, but did make the arrangement from blooms provided by the bride.  The trailing pieces were a good choice...they helped tie the topper to the cake.  Some of the piping is a bit easier to see in the photo below.  There were 3 alternating designs; 2 tiers of each.

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Purple seems to be a very popular color in weddings this season, at least in the ones I've been doing; some of you may recall I did this cake a couple weeks back.  I improved my fondant ribbon application technique from then to now.  While the ones on the previous cake didn't look awful, they were not nearly as smooth as I would have liked;  the ribbons on the cake above were much, much smoother.  Here's a shot of the completed cake table:

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The piping is fairly visible in this picture, as well.  I'm afraid I don't have very many shots of this wedding cake...by the time we had located a stable table and finished construction, the wedding was near to beginning and my madre and I needed to exit the reception hall.  Just one of the drawbacks of having to finish a cake on-site!  At least I have a few shots of it...

See you soon!



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